Two Independent Campus Safety Investigations to Evaluate University of Utah

Two Independent Campus Safety Investigations to Evaluate University of Utah

The University of Utah announced Friday two investigations into its safety and police procedures following the murder of a student on campus in October.

The University of Utah announced Friday two investigations into its safety and police procedures following the murder of a student on campus in October.

Student Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend outside her dorm on Oct. 22, according to police. Surveillance video reviewed for university public safety officials showed that he had been stalking McCluskey on campus, campus police said.

One investigation will examine police procedures and their response to McCluskey’s multiple reports of harassment and extortion from her ex-boyfriend. University President Ruth Watkins has asked three independent investigators to review "protocols, procedures and actions of all officers involved" in McCluskey's case, and to submit their findings by Dec. 17.

The second investigation is expected to look at campus safety on a wider scale and last through the Spring 2019 semester. The broader safety investigation will be conducted by the same three independent investigators and is expected to include items such as:

  • the evaluation of policies that guide the way campus entities handle and report problems related to student safety
  • the effectiveness of recent improvements to campus safety
  • any areas in student housing that need improvement
  • additional safety and security training and education opportunities and resources for people on campus
  • identification of safety and security measures used by other large public universities that could be adopted at the university

Watkins said the university had already assessed campus safety and made changes after another student was shot and killed on campus last October, but the university was committed to addressing any issues that still existed. She asked that the investigators recommend improvements to the accountability and chain of command of those responsible for campus safety.

According to Watkins, actions taken by the university following McCluskey’s murder included reviews and reviews and training about emergency response policies, resources available to students and reporting guidelines for students and staff. "The university has, and will continue, to make a robust investment in security cameras and lighting on campus," read a press release.

In addition, the university’s Department of Public Safety is providing training to detectives to improve “consistency and level of detail” in its cases and evaluating the way it prioritizes cases.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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